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Student Alumni Highlight

This month we wanted to highlight a recent graduate and Bonner Leader. Gabriela Ortiz-Riera graduated in May 2023 and has been a part of Bonner Community Leaders since her freshman year. Read about the impact Bonner Community Leaders has had on her college experience and now as a college graduate.


Gabriela Ortiz-Riera (Student Alumni)

Gabriela Ortiz-Riera (Class of 2023)


The way that Bonner Community Leaders has positively affected me is how I was able to build many connections and be where I am thanks to the opportunities given to me through the program where I got support from the Bonner supervisors and my site supervisors who guided me and made sure that I was learning new skills that will help me once I am done with college. I love how as an alumni, I am still connected with folks I met through the program who continue to support me and some be my friends.

Being a Bonner fellow made my college experience more fun because I made meaningful friendships through the program and learned so much about the amazing community that Augsburg is surrounded by. I also learned so much about the resources available to folks, which was good to learn and share with those who need the support.

Thanks to my connection with the Bonner Community Leaders, I got a job at Redesign Inc due to their affiliation with the program and knowing the fellows’ meaningful work. It has brought me so many great opportunities from the skills I built through the program. If I had known what I know now about the program three years ago, I would still be happy to apply to be part of the Bonner Community Leaders, as it has positively impacted my life after college.

I have so many great moments from being a Bonner fellow, for example, one of my best moments is when we would have our end-of-year celebration, and we all reflected on what we had done. That was one of the meaningful parts of my experience in the program. It was always exciting to hear what everyone has been up to on their interning site during the semester or year.

Introducing the Bonner Community Leaders (BCL) Program at Augsburg University

Dear Augsburg University Community,The Bonner Program: Access to education, opportunity to serve.

We are thrilled to announce an exciting transformation within our Program. Formerly known as LEAD (Leaders for Equity, Action, and Democracy) Fellows, we are proud to introduce the Bonner Community Leaders (BCL) program, in partnership with the Bonner Foundation. Whereas students in the program were previously referred to as “LEAD Fellows” they are now “Bonner Leaders.”  This transition marks a significant milestone in our commitment to fostering leadership, scholarship, and social justice on our campus and in the communities we get to be a part of.

As we deepen our collaboration with the Bonner Network, we embrace a renewed vision for the BCL program, building upon the foundation laid by LEAD Fellows. This shift brings forth a wealth of resources and opportunities that the Bonner network offers, including access to national conferences and trainings for both our staff and students. This expanded partnership will enhance the impact of our program and provide an even stronger support system for our justice-minded cohort.

The BCL program remains rooted in its core values of civic engagement, community-engaged learning, and the pursuit of a more just world. Our program will continue to embody these values as we continue collaborating with the communities surrounding Augsburg University. By forging meaningful relationships and working alongside community members, BCL participants will actively contribute to building a more equitable society.

One of the key advantages of our new partnership is the opportunity for deeper engagement within the Bonner Network. Students in the BCL program will have access to national conferences, where they can connect with like-minded individuals from across the country, exchange ideas, and gain insights into innovative approaches to community engagement. These conferences will serve as invaluable platforms for learning, networking, and amplifying the impact of our collective efforts.

We are excited about the potential for growth and development that these resources will bring to the BCL program and our wider Augsburg community.

The Bonner Community Leaders program aligns with Augsburg University’s mission to educate students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. By participating in the BCL program, students will deepen their understanding of social justice issues, develop practical skills through community-based work, and contribute to positive change in our world.

With these changes– WE ARE RECRUITING! We invite students with at least two years left at Augsburg University to apply for this transformative program. The BCL program offers an immersive four-year experience, providing a unique opportunity to build lasting relationships with a cohort of justice-minded peers and dedicated staff members who will support students throughout their academic journey. Visit the “Apply to be a Bonner” page to learn how to get involved.

We are excited to embark on this new chapter with the Bonner Community Leaders program, and we believe it will further strengthen our commitment to educational excellence, community engagement, and social justice. We appreciate all the love, support and advocacy the Augsburg community has shown this program over the years, and we look forward to building the capacity of this program together!


In solidarity,

LaToya Taris-James

Program Manager

Bonner Community Leaders